My Friend's Uncle ~ By Christian Bigirimana

In our fourth WCD submission, Christian Bigirimana shares with us a heartbreaking story of a man who deserved access to better care.

My Friend's Uncle

By Christian Bigirimana

Cancer refers to any one of a large number of diseases, characterised by the development of abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably and have the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue. I am going to tell you the story of what happened to my friend’s uncle.


His uncle was very sick and they brought him to a primary health centre. When they

arrived, the nurses took care of him by giving him diffferent medicines and after ten days he went back home . The whole family was joyful to see their uncle recovering well. But three months later the uncle began feeling bad again, which prompted him to return to the primary health centre to consult a doctor. All his examinations were normal, so they decided to transfer him to hospital by ambulance. When they reached the hospital, a stretcher bearer put him on a stretcher and he was taken immediately to the emergency room.


He was received by the doctors, and they did whatever they could in order to make him feel better, but they made no progress, and still all examinations were normal. When the doctors decided to send him to a medical ward, the family began to worry, and although the doctors found nothing, the family continued to see the uncle suffering and losing weight.


After two weeks, during a meal, the uncle began feeling very bad, with pain in the epigastric region. He told his doctor, who prescribed some medicine to

calm the pain and recommended that he source money for investigations, like

ultrasound or fibroscopy to search for a stomach ulcer or cancer. The family concurred with the doctors. Two days later the doctors performed the ultrasound and biopsy, then told to the family that what the man had was a stomach cancer, which was very difficult to receive. They did not understand how all these things could happen to them. The doctor told the family that if they had the money, they should take the uncle abroad for good treatment, because in this hospital they could offer only palliative care.


After five days the family took the uncle to Rwanda, and they treated him but without success. This placed a great strain on the family because the treatment was very expensive. Next, the family decided to take the uncle to Kenya, and the doctors examined him in every way they could, then confirmed that he had symptoms of metastasis, and after many days without progress the

family decided to bring the uncle back home. Then they arrived at Bujumbura, where the uncle spent only two days before dying from stomach cancer.


As a result of this, I have concluded that in our country cancer is very difficult to treat, for so many reasons: money, insufficient equipment and so on . Cancer is most dangerous of all diseases.


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